REVIEW: Leaf’s “51°37’35″N8°42’05″E”

 photo Leaf_cover_zps7af78425.jpg The title of this short 4-song album is called 51°37’35″N8°42’05″E, which suggests we are meant to punch in those coordinates and figure out where that is. I found it to be east of the city of Dortmund in Germany, but whether that is meant to be what it refers to or something that is only found in videos games, I can’t answer that. What I can answer is that Leaf has created an album called 51°37’35″N8°42’05″E and it is my mission, our mission, to find out where he plans on going with the sounds provided.

The tracks are a mix of ambient tranquility with segments of down tempo grooves and minimalism. Some portions of this would sound perfect for dramatic scenes in movies or even video games, where things are meant to seem surreal and mysterious. The songs don’t have actual titles, alhtough since they are called “Part I”, “Part II” and so on, I would assume “51°37’35″N8°42’05″E” is the title track. “Part III” is something that almost borders on the serene feel of Portishead’s works, except Leaf tends to go slightly off-tempo at times so it’s not as super tight as the Portis-folks. “Part IV”, the album closer, is a song you may not want to listen to down a dark highway at 2:42am, it may lead to thoughts of horror, even though the sporadic synthesized rhythms may be sexy to some (and it can be if you allow your mind to go that way). Most of the album is about creating a feeling, an aura, and the funky moments are isolated to where you really have to listen for it if that’s what you want. 51°37’35″N8°42’05″E is an album you could also meditate to, but it may take you somewhere unexpected, perhaps the coordinates will lead the way.